So I’ve always been one of those people who prefer to “do it myself”. If you want the job done and done right, you may as well just do it yourself – right? I’m sure many of you are the same way – most Type A personalities are. But I’m also sure many of us (being the Type A personalities that we are), have read numerous books and articles on leadership and business development that advised against trying to “do it all” and instead urged us to delegate, share responsibilities and give our understudies a chance to learn how to do what we do. But this rule seems to apply more to “people” than it does to “marketing”. And thankfully, while I’ve learned share responsibilities with my peers better over the years, I’ve still been applying this mentality to my marketing efforts – and it does pay off.
Many of us, when trying to form new habits (or in trying to rid ourselves of old habits), find a way to cope. For me, this meant transitioning my need to “do it myself” from the people side of things, to the marketing side of things. There are so many marketing channels available to multi-family marketers today: Internet Listing Services, traditional print advertising, websites, Social Media, SEO, PPC, Outreach Marketing, Non-Traditional websites, networking groups – the list goes on and on. Not only are marketers today tasked with trying to track these numerous lead sources to best determine which offers the best return on investment, but most are also being asked to reduce their marketing ad costs year-over-year (not an easy feat by any means, especially when advertising costs have risen steadily every year). I’ve recently started coping with my “do it myself” tendencies by digging in and “doing it myself” when it comes to marketing multi-family properties. While I would never advise someone to drop all of their mainstream forms of advertising (and due to volume, most of us couldn’t take matters completely into our own hands anyway), I would recommend completing an audit of your marketing toolbox to determine what you have to have, what you’re missing and what you can live without. Self-education is an important factor in completing a successful audit. For example, if you rely on a third party to provide SEO services to you and your team – how are they reporting statistics and performance to you? How is the integrity of the data protected to ensure the figures you are seeing are, in fact, accurate? Do you also pull analytics yourself to compare those figures with what your SEO company is giving you? Are you researching and familiarizing yourself with the latest and greatest on Google’s algorithms and changes they are making that affect SEO? There’s a form of empowerment that comes with “knowing your stuff” and ah hem…”doing it yourself.” We work with numerous vendors and companies who I have the utmost respect for and I’d never have reason to question their integrity. But I feel much better reporting on the numbers and figures when I’ve done my due diligence and have the knowledge base to be able to cross-reference numbers and statistical data.
You can not only reduce your ad-spend, but also create a more cohesive, synergistic marketing program when you start taking matters into your own hands, instead of relying on good ‘ole mainstream ways.
In many areas of life, we strive to be different – some of us like to be the queens of fashion – wearing new styles and trends before they become mainstream. Some of us research and sign up to buy new technology the minute it comes out (anyone order the new Apple watch yet?), while some like to visit and travel to new places that are off the beaten path. Yet when it comes to marketing and advertising, we rely on the same old, same old. Not that there aren’t some tried and true methods out there, but how can we be so cutting edge when it comes to personal things and yet so antiquated when it comes to running the marketing side of our businesses? Maybe it’s much easier to take risks in our personal lives, rather than in our professional ones. But what if we instead became trailblazers – creating new paths and new ways of marketing our communities that differ from the mainstream ways we’ve grown up with in this industry? What if we…
• Invested in and used a drone to take aerial photos of our communities to help market them better? If realtors are doing this – certainly we can do this!
• Teach our leasing associates to use LinkedIn to “hunt” for new customers/ business relationships/partnership marketing opportunities?
• Mined Twitter and Instagram and various social media channels – not by “posting” to them, but instead by searching for hashtags that potential renters may be using – and then directly contacted those prospects to get them into OUR communities?
• Streamlined our marketing channels to use only those that drive a certain amount in rental revenue instead of wanting them to drive a certain number of “leads”? What good is an ad stream if it is only driving “leads” and not revenue? Money talks!
• Used our customers as our spokespeople? And not just by posting written reviews that are positive, but by asking them to make commercials or short videos that showcase them having fun around our communities. Even if we paid them, it could prove to be more cost effective and more impactful than the cost of a traditional ad source.
• Hosted informational sessions for local groups (high school students, housing councils, college groups, newcomer meetings) on the basics of apartment renting – what to expect, potential costs, etc.?
• Enlisted our service teams to create short “how to” videos (how to operate/fix a garbage disposal, etc.) – and shared it via social media channels? Not just for our residents, but for anyone living in ANY apartment or home to utilize?
• Created and used infographics – for ANYTHING that renters would find helpful? Infographics are shared and shared often – easy to go viral!
• Reviewed every category of advertising we are currently using – print, internet, social media, grassroots campaigns, SEO, PPC – and found TWO things we could instead “own” and “do ourselves”?
It’s not easy to take on more – marketers today wear many hats and have many responsibilities – but when we truly delve into something, research it, learn it, know it, live it, the outcome is typically worth it. When we become TRUE experts on the marketing channels we are paying for, we can both reduce ad spend and maximize revenue generated – which tends to make our investors very happy people.
What will you choose to learn more about and “do yourself” this week? It’s never too late to learn something new!